Out of the blue Mak announced last week, “I’m going to ride for 12 hours a day, for three days, just like G”. I think most riders when they heard about Geraint Thomas’s 36 hour epic to raise money for the NHS would have laughed and said that it wasn’t for them, but Mak (who’s 12 years old) took a step into the complete unknown and cracked on with the challenge – here’s how he got on…
Lockdown has been hard for lots of people in lots of different ways and has left people looking to challenge themselves in new ways – you have to adapt to keep yourself occupied especially if you’re missing racing and training like I am at the moment, so when I heard about what Geraint Thomas was doing, riding 12 hours a day on a turbo for three days, I wondered if it might be possible for me to do the same.
I made the decision to give it a go and spent some time ahead of the challenge setting up my turbo to work with Zwift via my laptop and a big screen. I gathered together my summer’s supply of Torq bars and Mum made up plenty of chicken salad and then at 7:30am on Wednesday I signed in and started riding along with G and a load of his supporters. I didn’t think too much about it, I just focused on getting riding.
The first day was pretty exciting – the novelty of it kept me going. I’ve never ridden for 12 hours before so that in itself was a challenge. I didn’t know how hard to push so I just had to be sensible and take it one hour at a time. I had loads of nice messages on Instagram and Facebook and before I knew it, I’d done my first 12 hours – Tired but not knackered I slept pretty well on Wednesday night!
Thursday was the hardest day. Now I knew I could ride for 12 hours so that wasn’t a problem, but I was pretty tired from yesterday and all I could think about was what I still had to do. However getting to the halfway mark was a major boost and I was getting some great donations towards the NHS (https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MakLarkin) almost reaching my target. I was also getting loads of nice messages that really helped keep me going.
Waking up and starting on Friday was probably the hardest individual moment of the three days, but I made my 7:30 start time and set off for another day in virtual reality! My legs were sore and it was hard to focus on eating and drinking. My music was keeping me going and before I knew it the morning was over – that’s when I started to get a load of really ace messages from some brilliant people – all my normal supporters were taking time to send me messages, but now even a few of the pro’s had joined in! Tom Pidcock, Cameron Mason and Ben Tullett all sent me messages and afterwards even G gave me a shout out! This all helped me to smash my original target that I wanted to raise for the NHS, which is still open, so please donate by clicking on this text because they’re the real heroes.
Back to the final few hours and I was hanging in there. I was really having a hard time turning the pedals but with every minute that went by I could feel myself getting closer to the finish and this really perked me up. With two hours to go I realised I could do it, and with one hour to go I started working harder – I wanted to finish like a pro so I put every bit of effort in, sprinting as hard as I could to get those final few km’s in the bank. I finished exhausted after having ridden more than 750km at approx 20.8km/hour. It hasn’t really sunk in yet but I’m pretty pleased with the millage and the best bit is having raised so much money for the NHS. Thank-you to them and thank-you to everyone who’s supported or sponsored me, it’s been brilliant.
Photos by Mak and Lynsey Larkin.
Mak’s been on 2 wheels chasing his Dad’s tracks since he can remember. He races for the Rotor Race Team at National level in Mountain bike and Cyclocross. He’s won races at Battle on the Beach and Brighton Big Dog and raced his first proper season of National Points Series. He also ranked 2nd in both the Southern and Eastern XC Series last season and picked up his first road crit win at the Eastbourne Cycling Festival. He’s always happy to help in the pits at ‘cross races and is always looking for the next challenge.
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